La Grande Tuilerie d’Ivry — Part Three: Muller and Hector Guimard, Hotel Roszé and Hotel Jassedé.
27 March 2020
This series of articles devoted to the company of the ceramist Émile Muller in Ivry gives an overview of his creations in the field of Art Nouveau. In this third article, and then in the next one, we address the collaboration between Muller & Cie and Hector Guimard.
Our articles will not present all of Guimard’s architectural ceramic designs known and intended for Muller nor all of the instances of use of his decorative panels by other architects. This exhaustive study is being carried out in parallel for the constitution of a specific repertory.
Hector Guimard is a special case among the modern architects who supplied models to Muller & Cie, since he called upon the Grande Tuilerie d’Ivry for the decoration of his first villas built in the West of Paris in the early 1890s. These orders immediately led to the publication of models. But curiously, as soon as the Castel Béranger was built in 1895-1898, Guimard no longer seemed to place orders with Muller & Cie and turned to Gilardoni & Brault and Alexandre Bigot. Almost a decade later, however, 14 of his models still appear in Muller & Cie’s 1904 catalogue n° 2.
From his first known construction, a modest pavilion praising the therapeutic methods of electricity and electromagnetism for an obscure Ferdinand de Boyères at the 1889 Universal Exhibition, Guimard used ceramics to decorate the panels inserted in the joinery. The professional magazine La Construction Moderne of 22 March 1890 gives an engraving of it (probably from a photo) but we do not know which ceramic models were used or who was the supplier.
Guimard’s “Pavillon for the application of electricity to medicine” at the 1889 Universal Exhibition. Illustration by Henri Toussaint published in La Construction Moderne of 22 March 1890. The ceramic decorations are on the basement as well as on the panels separating the windows. Gallica BNF website.
Two years later, in 1891, for the Hotel Roszé at 34 rue Boileau in the 16th arrondissement, we have the certainty of a real collaboration between Guimard and Muller & Cie thanks to the presence of several panels of the Hotel on the 1904 catalogue n° 2. At that time, Guimard was only 24 years old and he was far from having the notoriety that would be his from the Castel Béranger. The novelty of his models, which seems less obvious today, must have been enough for Louis d’Émile Muller to feel that this young architect deserved attention.
The friezes on either side of the lintel of the first-floor window on the left-hand span of the street facade are clad with four-part panels showing a branch from which a blue and a white flower emerge alternately.
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